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Case Reading as a Practice and Training Intervention in Domestic Violence and Child Protection

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This article explores the role of a case-reading tool, developed by the Safe and Together Institute, deployed across five Australian states, and which engaged workers from child protection (CP) and specialist domestic and family violence (DFV) services. It aimed to assess the extent to which DFV is identified in CP case files and to assess the quality of case practice from a DFV-informed perspective, as documented in the case file. The Safe and Together approach to child welfare provides a robust foundation upon which practitioners from statutory and nonstatutory backgrounds can work collaboratively and reach consensus about how best to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children living with DFV. The case reading is both a process of transformative working for practitioners and an analytical tool through which their agencies can affect systemic change.


A national audit of 20 child protection case files using the Safe and Together case-reading process indicated that documented child protection practice sits at the lower end of a domestic and family violence-informed Continuum of Practice.

Analysis indicates a need to improve: child protection engagement with fathers who use DFV, assessments of their parenting role and its impact on children and family functioning; identification of adult survivors’ protective capacities and their impact on children.

Research in this area may have broader implications for other professions and government policy both nationally and internationally.
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Keywords: Child Abuse; Child Protection; Child Protection Workers; Domestic Violence

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Health Sciences, Department of Social Work, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia 2: Safe and Together Institute, Canton, CT, USA

Publication date: July 3, 2018

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